No Ordinary Season
Read The Reviews
"No Ordinary Season is an extraordinary story with all the idiosyncrasies a runner can relate to. It reveals the pressured life of high school students with a deeper philosophical story. James Jacobs tells a beautiful tale, taking the reader on the emotional and physical ride that is youth"–Deena Kastor, bronze medal winner in the marathon at 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece; American record holder in the marathon, and eight-time national champion in cross country.
No Ordinary Season. An impressively compelling, exceptionally well written, inherently fascinating, and unfailingly entertaining read from beginning to end, No Ordinary Season is an extraordinary novel that is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, as is very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of those who appreciated a finely crafted, multilayered 'coming of age' novel. --Midwest Book Review
“No Ordinary Season is no ordinary book. I became so absorbed in Cassie's narrative that I forgot it was not written by a teen-age girl, but an adult male.
Her growth, both emotional and physical, are wonderfully depicted...James Jacobs...obviously did heavy research on the feelings of teens in general and girls in particular.
I recommend this book to all readers....”–Lynn Evans, author “The Poor Tinker and the Elves,” Cricket, Sept. ‘16
“I thoroughly enjoyed [Jacobs’] characters... [the running] scenes had me on the edge of my seat...this was a great story”–Teralyn Mitchell,
Freelance Editors Association
"Jim Jacobs has created a fresh new voice for young adults. High school sports form the backdrop not only for the aspirations of his heroine [Cassie Garnet], but also for her growing understanding of the bigotry that exists in her hometown, a subject he addresses candidly"–Emily Buehler, author of Somewhere & Nowhere.
When its cross country coach dies of a stroke, the high school of River Bend is in for a big
change. The replacement who’s finally hired is named C. R. Simon; it’s a shock to everyone to learn that
this person is not only a woman, but also Jewish.
The ensuing story is narrated by Cassie, a senior at the high school. Cassie is immediately
designated by the new coach as the captain of the team. This gives her leadership responsibility and the
message that the team must work together to win. Ms. Simon applies her own no-nonsense approach to
whip the team into shape. Cassie, who had always thought of herself as mediocre in sports and in life
more generally, is surprised to learn that things can be different if she receives the right coaching.
No book about high school young women could fail to include a love focus, and Cassie chooses
the high school basketball star as the man she wants in her life. The ups and downs of their interactions
are not only interesting to follow, but also give readers insight into the challenges of any relationship.
The climax of the book occurs when the coach is accused of “inappropriate behavior,” and
readers will eagerly await the resolution of this explosive situation.
The main themes of the book include how gossip can destroy reputations, how self-confidence
can be shaped by a competent mentor, how appearances can be deceptive, how hard work can lead to
success; and how organization, professional leadership, and good people can change outcomes. The
novel also deals with the presence of small-town bigotry and anti-Semitism. These are quite a few heavy
ideas for one book, but the author addresses them with skill—and in doing so demonstrates the
development of maturity, relationship-building, and trust.
Recommended for ages 12 to 16.–Jewish Book Council
About The Author
JAMES V. JACOBS was educated at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan
University) and Western Illinois University. While in college, he worked in the
Civil Rights Movement with National Urban League affiliates in Indiana. After
college, Jacobs taught fifth grade in the Galesburg, IL public schools for thirty-five
years. Upon retiring from the Galesburg Schools, he taught writing for ten years at
Carl Sandburg Community College in Galesburg.
During and after his years in the classroom, Jacobs received a number or awards
for his teaching and commitment to human relations. Among these are the Award
of Excellence from the Illinois Math and Science Academy, League of Latin
American Citizens (LULAC)Teacher of the Year, Honored Teacher Award from
the University of Iowa, Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from Indiana
Wesleyan University, Outstanding Dedication to Education Citation from Boston
University, and the Human Relations Award from the Galesburg Human Relations
Commission. Additionally, Jacobs was part owner of Human Relations Associates,
Inc., a business that dealt with issues of racism through education and conflict
Jacobs's essays and short stories have appeared in The Prairie Journal, the
political and social commentary The Zephyr, the literary/art magazine Phizzogs,
and he authored A Teacher's Guide to Voices of the Prairie Land.
No Ordinary Season is his first published novel.